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Anyone who has ever had the infection does not need to be immunized. Children in B.C. born in or after 1994 routinely receive two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), one at 12 months, then again before they start kindergarten. These individuals, if they are up to date with all of their immunizations, should be protected against measles. Vaccinations are recommended to any adult or child over one year of age who has uncertain immunization or disease history. 

  • If you were born before 1994, or grew up outside of B.C., you may have received only one dose of the vaccine and require a second dose.

  • If you were born before 1970, you are likely to be immune to measles. However, if you aren’t sure if you ever had the infection, an MMR vaccine is safe and recommended.

Measles is highly infectious and spread through the air when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. You don't have to be in close contact with someone to contract the infection. You could spend just a few minutes in the same room as someone and get it, though, the closer the contact, the higher the risk.

This virus can survive in closed areas (e.g. a bathroom) for up to two hours after an infected person with measles was there. So people who are in the same air space during this two hour period can become infected. It can also be spread through sharing food, drinks or cigarettes or kissing a person with measles.

An infected person can spread measles before knowing they have been infected. People are infectious to others from four days before to four days after the onset of rash.

Red eyes, which may be sensitive to light
A runny nose

Measles can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can lead to seizures, deafness, or brain damage. One person in every 3,000 with measles may die from complications. Complications and death are most common in infants less than 12 months of age and in adults.

Complications of measles can include:

  • Ear infections (1 in 10 cases)

  • Diarrhea (8 in 100 cases)

  • Pneumonia (1 in 10 cases)

  • Hospital stay (1 to 2 in 10 cases)

  • Encephalitis (1 in every 1,000 cases)

Measles is a serious illness with no specific treatment, but most people recover within a week or two.

If you have measles:

  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice and soup, especially if you have a fever.

  • Get plenty of rest.

  • Stay away from other people as much as you can so that you don't spread the disease.

  • If your child has measles, keep him or her out of school and activities until at least 4 days after the rash first appeared. Keep your child out longer if he or she is not feeling well.

  • Your doctor may suggest vitamin A supplements for your child.

If you have a fever and rash you should isolate yourself by staying home and visit your doctor. Before going, call your doctor's office so that they can take precautions to protect other patients.

If you think you have measles, please call VCH Public Health at 1 (855) 675-3900 during regular business hours, and ask for the nurse on call, to report your illness.

The measles vaccination is available free of charge at VCH public health units. You can also get vaccinated at some physician offices and pharmacies, where those without BC health care coverage may be charged a fee.

List of Community Health Centres:

Measles immunization catch-up program

The BC Government is launching a measles immunization catch-up program to help ensure children and youth from kindergarten to grade 12 are protected from measles. The program will run from April through June 2019.

Measles cases have increased in British Columbia (BC), and around the world. To protect our community, the province is holding a campaign to raise measles immunity among school children. We are also gathering immunization records. Most children in BC are immune to measles because they have had two doses of MMR vaccine. 

The measles immunization catch-up program is an opportunity for children who have zero or only one dose of measles vaccine. It is also an opportunity for us to ensure we have complete vaccine records for all school children. 

We want to reassure parents and students that this is not an emergency situation. 

We'd like to thank parents and students in advance for their participation in this important immunization campaign. We are working with the province, our health care partners and school districts to ensure the best possible measles protection for all school-aged children.

Starting in April, our Public Health team will send letters to parents of children in kindergarten through grade 12 if we don’t have records showing they are immune to measles. Parents/guardians will be provided with instructions on where and when they can go to receive the vaccination for their children and how they can update their child’s immunization records.


‎If your child was immunized by Vancouver Coastal Health Public Health, we have a copy of their immunization record.

If your child had some or all of their immunizations completed by a family physician, nurse practitioner or pharmacist, parents are encouraged to submit their child's immunization record to Vancouver Coastal Public Health. Please ensure your child's full name, date of birth, sex of child and personal health number (PHN) are included in the email and send to

Measles – HealthLink BC 

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR vaccine) – HealthLinkBC (available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese)

Vaccine safety – Immunize BC 

Tips for locating immunization records – Immunize BC 

Immunizations – Vancouver Coastal Health 

School-age immunization rates by school, grade - Vancouver Coastal Health

School-age immunization rates by VCH area - Vancouver Coastal Health

Sneezes & Diseases – VCH resource for caregivers and parents 

Vaccine and vaccine safety – Immunize BC

BC-ERAC approved education resource currently in 100 schools across the province. Designed for science and socials studies teachers in BC, KBI has 35+ free online lessons that reward student learning with the opportunity to earn vaccines for children through UNICEF Canada - Kids Boost Immunity (KBI)

School-age immunization rates by school, grade - Vancouver Coastal Health

School-age immunization rates by VCH area - Vancouver Coastal Health

Please read the letter sent to your child's school for details on what to do, specific to your region.

Richmond parent letter - English

Richmond parent letter - Chinese translation

Please read the letter sent to your child's school for details on what to do, specific to your region.

North Shore parent letter

Drop-in immunization clinics

  • Saturday June 15, 2019 ‎10am to 2pm at West Community Health Centre (in the Garden Room) located at 2121 Marine Dr, West Vancouver. No appointment necessary.

Please read the letter sent to your child's school for details on what to do, specific to your region.

Coastal rural parent letter

Please read the letter sent to your child's school for details on what to do, specific to your region.

Drop-in immunization clinics

  • Saturday June 15, 2019 9am to 3:30pm  at Raven Song Community Health Centre located at 2450 Ontario Street, Vancouver. No appointment necessary.

SOURCE: Measles ( )
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